Psychology Optional Books and Syllabus for UPSC Exam

UPSC exam is known as one of the toughest exams in India. But anyone with a good understanding about the subject matter and syllabus can pass the exam by scoring a good mark. But everyone needs a good studying strategy to go through the Psychology Books and Syllabus. There are 48 optional subjects where the aspirants can choose their subjects.

From those optional subjects psychology is popular among candidates. Through this optional subject the ability of the aspirant to understand the subject and the ability to apply the knowledge in real situations is tested. The topics included in this subject are related to theoretical and applied psychology.

Books to Refer for Psychology optional UPSC exam

To begin your preparation for psychology optional you need to refer to psychology optional upsc books first. It’s better to choose relevant books to refer for the exam. While referring to psychology optional upsc books, the syllabus for psychology optional should be kept in mind. Here are some of the best psychology optional upsc books that you can refer to crack the exams in one go :

  • Social Psychology by Robert Baron, Branscombe, Gopa Bhardwaj, Byrne
  • Tests, Measurements and Research Methods in Behavioural Sciences by A K Singh – Bharti Bhawan publications
  • Social Psychology by Robert Baron, Branscombe, Gopa Bhardwaj, Byrne
  • The Psychology of Small Groups Shaw
  • Psychology XI & XII Std NCERT
  • Introduction to Psychology Morgan & King
  • Systems & Theories of Psychology Krawiec & Chaplin
  • Theories of Personality Hall & Lindzey
  • Psychology Robert A Baron
  • Statistics for Psychology by Aron, Aron, Coups
  • Psychology by Morgan and King
  • Psychology by Ciccarelli
  • Social Psychology Baron & Byrne
  • Fundamentals of Cognitive Psychology 2nd Edition by Ronald Kellogg
  • Theories of Personality by Sydney Ellen Schultz and Duane Schultz
  • Applied Psychology 3rd Edition by Smarak Swain
  • Social Psychology by Baron and Branscombe

Psychology optional paper 1(Foundations of Psychology) 

#1. Introduction

Definition of Psychology, Historical antecedents of Psychology and trends in the 21st century, Psychology and scientific methods, Psychology in relation to other social sciences and natural sciences, Application of Psychology to societal problems.

#2. Methods of Psychology

Types of research: Descriptive, evaluative, diagnostic and prognostic, Methods of Research: Survey, observation, case-study and experiments, Characteristics of experimental design and non-experimental design, Quasi-experimental designs, Focused group discussions, brainstorming, grounded theory approach.

#3. Research Methods:

Major steps in Psychological research, Fundamental versus applied research, Methods of data collection, Research designs, Application of statistical technique, Item response theory.

#4. Development of Human Behavior:

Growth and development, Principles of development, Role of genetic and environmental factors in determining human behavior, Influence of cultural factors in socialization, Life span development – Characteristics, development tasks, promoting psychological well-being across major stages of the life span.

#5. Sensation, Attention, and Perception:

Sensation: concepts of the threshold, absolute and difference thresholds, signal-detection and vigilance, Factors influencing attention including set and characteristics of stimulus, Definition and concept of perception, biological factors in perception, Perceptual organization-influence of past experiences, perceptual defense-factors influencing space and depth perception, size estimation and perceptual readiness, The plasticity of perception, Extrasensory perception, Culture and perception, Subliminal perception.

#6. Learning:

Concept and theories of learning, The Processes of extinction, discrimination and generalization; Programmed learning, probability learning, self-instructional learning, concepts, Types and the schedules of reinforcement, escape, avoidance and punishment, modeling and social learning.

#7. Memory

Encoding and remembering, Short term memory, Long term memory, Sensory memory, Iconic memory, Echoic memory, The Multi store model, levels of processing, Organization and Mnemonic techniques to improve memory, Theories of forgetting: decay, interference and retrieval failure, Meta memory, Amnesia, Anterograde and retrograde.

#8. Thinking and Problem Solving:

Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, Concept formation processes, Information processing, Reasoning and problem solving, Facilitating and hindering factors in problem solving, Methods of problem solving, Creative thinking and fostering creativity, Factors influencing decision making and judgment, Recent trends.

#9. Motivation and Emotion:

Psychological and physiological basis of motivation and emotion, Measurement of motivation and emotion, Effects of motivation and emotion on behavior, Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, Factors influencing intrinsic motivation, Emotional competence and the related issues.

#10. Intelligence and Aptitude:

Concept of intelligence and aptitude, Nature and theories of intelligence – Spearman, Thurstone, Gullford Vernon, Sternberg and J.P; Das, Emotional Intelligence, Social intelligence, measurement of intelligence and aptitudes, concept of IQ, deviation IQ, constancy of IQ, Measurement of multiple intelligence, Fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence.

#11. Personality:

Definition and concept of personality, Theories of personality, Measurement of personality, The Indian approach to personality, Training for personality development, Latest approaches like big 5 factor theory, the notion of self in different traditions.

#12. Attitudes, Values and Interests:

Definition of attitudes, values and interests; Components of attitudes, Formation and maintenance of attitudes, Measurement of attitudes, values and interests, Theories of attitude change, Strategies for fostering values, Formation of stereotypes and prejudices, Changing others behavior, Theories of attribution, Recent trends.

#13. Language and Communication:

Human language – Properties, structure and linguistic hierarchy, Language acquisition-predisposition, critical period hypothesis, Theories of language development – Skinner and Chomsky, Process and types of communication – effective communication training.

#14. Issues and Perspectives in Modern Contemporary Psychology:

Computer application in the psychological laboratory and psychological testing, Artificial intelligence, Psych cybernetics, Study of consciousness – sleep – wake schedules, dreams, stimulus deprivation, meditation, hypnotic/drug induced states, Extrasensory perception; Inter sensory perception Simulation studies.

Psychology optional paper 2(Foundations of Psychology)

#1. Psychological Measurement of Individual Differences:

The nature of individual differences, Characteristics and construction of standardized psychological tests, Types of psychological tests, Use, misuse and limitation of psychological tests, hical issues in the use of psychological tests.

#2. Psychological well-being and Mental Disorders:

Concept of health-ill health, Positive health, well-being, Causal factors in mental disorders, Factors influencing positive health, well-being, lifestyle and quality of life, Happiness disposition.

#3. Therapeutic Approaches:

Psychodynamic therapies, Behavior therapies, Client centered therapy, Cognitive therapies, Indigenous therapies, Biofeedback therapy, Prevention and rehabilitation of the mentally ill, fostering mental health.

#4. Work Psychology and Organizational behavior:

Personnel selection and training, Use of psychological tests in the industry, Training and human resource development, Theories of work motivation – Herzberg, Maslow, Adam Equity theory, Porter and Lawler, Vroom, Leadership and participatory management, Advertising and marketing, Stress and its management, Ergonomics; consumer psychology, Managerial effectiveness, Transformational leadership, Sensitivity training, Power and politics in organizations.

Bottom Line

This whole syllabus needed to be followed and understood by each and every aspirant. Then only he or she can score a higher mark and reach their goal. Perfect studying strategy will come to the rescue on such occasions.

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